Horses can act in unpredictable ways, a leading British jockey has told an Old Bailey jury hearing race-fixing claims.
Darryl Holland said racing was a tough business
Darryll Holland was called as a prosecution witness at the trial of former champion jockey Kieren Fallon.
But, under cross examination by defence lawyers, he admitted riding horses was a tough business and the animals often "had a mind of their own".
Six defendants, including Mr Fallon, deny conspiracy to defraud customers of betting exchange Betfair.
Undercover surveillance pictures of alleged syndicate boss Miles Rodgers meeting Irish businessman Daniel Kinahan, whom the court has been told was not accused of involvement in the conspiracy, was shown to the jury.
The prosecution said Mr Fallon angered a crooked betting syndicate run by Mr Rodgers after he failed to lose the Lockinge Stakes on Russian Rhythm on 15 May, 2004.
Jonathan Caplan QC said Mr Kinahan flew from Spain following a concerted effort to confront Mr Fallon.
The prosecution alleges four of the accused, plus Mr Kinahan, drove late at night towards Mr Fallon's home in Suffolk before spotting an unmarked police car following them.
Footage of Daniel Kinahan (left) with Miles Rodgers was shown
Earlier, Mr Holland told the trial he had flown in his own private plane from Goodwood racecourse to Leicester for an evening meeting on 18 May 2004.
He said the taxi booked to take them back to the airport after the last race failed to turn up and Mr Fallon told him he and another top jockey, Seb Sanders, could get a lift in another car.
The prosecution claim the car was driven by syndicate boss Miles Rodgers, the leader of the alleged conspiracy, and his front seat passenger was another defendant, Shaun Lynch.
Mr Holland told the jury there was no conversation during the 10-minute journey and added: "Normally when you get in the car, you are introduced. I think it was a bit strange but nobody spoke to me and I did not speak to them."
When they left the car after arriving at the airport, Mr Holland said he looked back and saw Mr Fallon speaking to the two men.
Mr Holland was asked if he thought Mr Fallon knew the men.
There was laughter in court when he replied: "I am not 100% sure if he knew them but you are taught at an early age not to get into cars with strangers - so I assume he knew them."
Later, George Carter-Stephenson QC, counsel for jockey Fergal Lynch, asked for the jury to see a clip from Channel 4's Morning Line racing programme on which Mr Holland appeared as a pundit to discuss riding accidents.
In the clip three horrific accidents during races were shown and Mr Holland was asked about the dangers of racing by presenter Derek Thompson.
He said: "It's an awful downside of racing. These horses are highly strung and we are travelling at speed and it puts it into perspective."
Mr Carter-Stephenson then referred back to one of the races, where a jockey called Tony Procter was thrown from his horse, Two Timer, when it suddenly careered through the racetrack rails.
He asked: "Do horses sometimes make up their own minds?"
"Yes. If they want to go (somewhere) they will," he replied.
The six defendants deny conspiring with others between December 2002 and September 2004 to defraud online betting exchange Betfair customers and other punters by plotting to fix 27 races.
Mr Fallon, 42, formerly of Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, but now of Tipperary, Ireland, is on trial with fellow jockeys Fergal Lynch, 29, of Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, and Darren Williams, 29, of Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
Fergal Lynch's brother Shaun, 38, of Belfast; Mr Rodgers, 38, of Silkstone, South Yorkshire, and Philip Sherkle, 42, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, are also on trial.
Mr Rodgers also denies concealing the proceeds of crime.
The trial continues.